The Iron Pen #63
"...graven with an iron pen and lead..." Job 19:24
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
God & Country
"We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government; upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God."
Directions How To Hear Sermons
based on a sermon by George Whitefield 1714-1770
Take heed therefore how ye hear Luke 8:18
"If it be the duty of ministers to preach, (and woe be to them if they do not preach the gospel, for a necessity is laid upon them) no doubt, the people are obliged to attend [listen] to them; for otherwise, wherefore are ministers sent? I propose to lay down some cautions and directions, in order to [aid] your hearing sermons with profit and advantage."
[Editors Note: While the outline is indeed Whitefields, I have paraphrased the outline titles and added appropriate Bible references. If you would like a copy of the entire, unedited text of Whitefields sermon send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the address on the Iron Pen page.]
BRIEF BIOGRAPHIES OF BELIEVERSThe Story of Dr. Isaac Watts, Hymn Writer & Theologian Part 1
David L. Brown, Th.M.
Isaac Watts was born at Southampton, England on July 17th 1674. His mother began early, teaching her oldest son how to read and write, and focused especially on the writing of verse. At the age of seven, Isaac won a medal for writing rhymes. But, he took things to an extreme in his fathers mind, rhyming even his everyday conversation. Finally, Enoch could stand it no more and threatened to thrash Isaac if he did not stop rhyming everything he said. The boy responded, "O father do some pity take, and I will no more verses make."
Enoch Watts decided to start a boarding school and in fact taught in the school himself, that is when he was not in jail for acts against the Established Church. Enoch was a nonconformist and believed that the Bible alone was to be the authority for faith and practice in a believers life. Despite his troubles with the law, Mr. Watts had taught Isaac five languages by the time he was fourteen. Great trial came into young Isaacs life at age fifteen. Smallpox nearly killed him. The disease left him pock marked and sickly for the rest of his life. But despite that, God used him mightily!
One Sunday, in 1692, the elder Watts noticed that Isaac had not joined in when the Psalms were sung. When they got home, his father severely scolded eighteen year old Isaac for not singing. Isaac responded that there was no music in the way they sang the Psalms. His father sarcastically responded by challenging his son to write something better.
The next Sunday the clerk got up and read a new kind of song. It began: "Behold the glories of the Lamb amidst His Fathers throne; prepare new honors for His name, and songs before unknown." Excitement filled the congregation as they sang the paraphrased Psalm. In fact, they insisted that young Watts bring one of his modernized Psalms every Sunday for the next two years. One of my favorites is his paraphrase of the 90th Psalm "Oh God, Our help In Ages Past!" Isaac Watts had successfully broken the tradition of only singing the Psalms, and paved the way for other hymn writers like Wesley, Newton, Cowper and others. Indeed we are to teach and admonish "one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Colossians 3:16
Compare our opportunities of serving God with those of the early
Christians. Look at the mighty obstacles they had to encounter and surmount. Let us grasp
these opportunities to serve Him; then we may expect great things. He will not disappoint